Hydrogen fuel cell to provide office power


A business park in Yorkshire will be the first location in the UK to trial hydrogen fuel cell technology as a means of powering day-to-day systems such as computers, telephones and printers.

The Environmental Energy Technology Centre (EETC), located at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham, will use Europe's largest capacity Hydrogen Mini-Grid System (HMGS) - developed by Pure Energy in the Shetlands and the energy consultancy TNEI - as a primary power source to the building.

The system uses renewable energy produced by a 225kW wind turbine, which will produce over 500MWh of electricity each year, enabling the EETC to be self-sufficient for power.

"The HMGS is at present the largest wind-to-hydrogen installation in the UK and is the first to incorporate both the ability to dispense high pressure hydrogen for vehicle refuelling as well as a fuel cell to generate electricity," said Dr Jason Stoyel, technical manager at energy services consultancy TNEI.

Specialist power equipment company UPS Systems will also provide the EETC with a 30kW power system comprising nine inverters, three 12kW fuel cells, 240Ah batteries and supervisory software to control and regulate the system.

"This project will prove to be important in the progression of hydrogen and fuel cell technology as viable alternative sources of energy," said Tom Sperrey, managing director of UPS Systems.

On particularly windy days, there is potential to produce surplus energy, which will be sold back into the National Grid network, offsetting some of the cost of the equipment. Excess Hydrogen can then be stored for use at a later date.